A Feisty Live Insight
'On Tour' are the key words in this DVD's title, PJ Harvey's first DVD is more representative of the tour experience from her eyes than the slick live show witnessed by an audience, which makes it a little bit special.
16 tracks have been carefully chosen, however the focus moves between different renditions at different stops on Polly's 2004 Uh Huh Her tour. We kick off with the brutish 'Meet Ze Monsta' in stylised green and blue lighting before one of many behind the scenes clips kicks in with PJ Harvey telling us that her band are "spontaneous and exciting players", cue the delightful shot of a guitarist writhing on the floor. Later we are told that PJ has always hated live recordings and albums and this is why she aimed to have a more "patchwork" effect on her own first shot at this.
The gritty reality is made far from boring though with an overload of artistic camerwork from shots of the stage being set up to the frantic and dizzying cutting between members of the band on the funky 'Uh Huh Her', how much more up close and intimate can you get than looking down the guitarist's fretboard? 'Uh Huh Her' is one of two tracks on this DVD which haven't been released before, the other being slow-building, sly rocker 'Evol'.
We move between never-ending festival audiences and intimate live venues, the ballsy bass line of 'Down By The Water' having the ability to shake both, while classic 'Big Exit' goes down well with its epic strains and sunset red lighting. The fragile ebb and flow of 'The Darkers Days of Me & Him' still stand strong before the fierce vigour of 'Who The F**k?' shakes it up. Although only 16 tracks are shown in full, the behind the scenes clips have many more snapshots of live performances and soundtracks to band banter.
The only DVD extra is a 28 minute interview with PJ Harvey, which unlike most interviews, doesn't drag at all as it is interspersed with the same creative shots and bursts of tunes as the main feature. The interview is focused on PJ's last album 'Uh Huh Her', which she produced herself and music buffs and fans will be interested to see some of the live recordings and hear the techniques behind the album. Even the creative process of finding the right album art is documented with the audience as a fly on the wall as Polly examines dozens of photos. PJ Harvey comments that, "Songs are at their most beautiful when performed live", and after seeing this DVD I must agree.